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​The Legacy of Slavery

An AP-NORC Poll conducted in September 2019 examines opinions about the legacy of slavery and a reparation policy.

​Most Americans think the legacy of slavery has at least some lasting impact on black people in the United States today, but fewer support monetary reparations for slavery or an official national apology. Adults under age 30 are the most likely to perceive a lasting impact of slavery and are more supportive of the government both apologizing and offering reparations.

Overall, 60% of Americans think the history of slavery in this country affects black people in American society today and 39% say it does not affect them much or at all. Eighty-three percent of black people agree that the legacy of slavery affects black Americans.

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Question: How much do you think the history of slavery in this country affects black people in American society today?
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

Fewer, however, believe the government should apologize or offer reparations. Forty-six percent say the federal government should officially apologize for the history of slavery in the United States, while 52% say it should not. Just 29% of Americans say the United States should pay reparations. 

Views differ based on race and ethnicity. Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to support an apology and reparations. 

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Question: Do you think the federal government should or should not officially apologize for the history of slavery in this country?/ Do you think the U.S. federal government should or should not pay reparations for slavery and racial discrimination in this country by making cash payments to the descendants of enslaved people?
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

Younger Americans are significantly more likely to agree that the legacy of slavery affects black Americans today and are more supportive of the government both apologizing and offering reparations.

Seventy-three percent of those aged 18-29 say that the history of slavery affects black Americans in society today, compared to just 57% of those 30 and older.

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Question: How much do you think the history of slavery in this country affects black people in American society today?
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

Similarly, 60% of adults under 30 support an official apology, compared to 42% of those older.  And 45% support payment of reparations, compared to 25% of those older. 

chart4_10_22_slav.png

Question: Do you think the federal government should or should not officially apologize for the history of slavery in this country?/ Do you think the U.S. federal government should or should not pay reparations for slavery and racial discrimination in this country by making cash payments to the descendants of enslaved people?
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

The nationwide poll was conducted September 20-23, 2019, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,286 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.